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October 30th, 2015 donnahoke

Gratitude journals and their more public cousins—gratitude Facebook posts—have become mindful ways to connect with what is good in our lives. I’ve never done one, but it occurred to me a while back that doing a 365 Grateful for playwriting might illuminate a year’s worth of reasons why we’re so loyal to this sometimes discouraging pursuit. In 2014, there were many times I became aware of people, situations, events that only touched me because I wrote that first play and kept on writing–a phone call from a producer who wanted to share the tearful reactions my play evoked that evening, being part of the Buffalo theater community, meeting some super cool people during a production in a small town in the Catskills, the Dramatists Guild regional reps meeting, having actors in Ghana speak my words– as well as all the people, places, and things that just make it easier to keep on. Productions are wonderful, but being a playwright has generated so many rewards beyond just those, so, this year, now that Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project is finished, recording them all is my project for 2015. I’ll tweet once each day under #365gratefulplaywright (follow me @donnahoke) and also post to my Donna Hoke, Playwright page on Facebook, then post the updated blog every two weeks so that nobody is overwhelmed. (I’ll also start a new blog post every two weeks, so that this file doesn’t become impossible!) If you’re a playwright, think about what might go on your own list; it’s humbling to see how lucky we really are.


And so, continuing on with November/Part One, AS A PLAYWRIGHT, grateful


November 1:The Ladies First Newsletter, started by playwright Natalie Osborne. Each month, her newsletter lists productions by female playwrights.


November 2: That amazing fuzzy feeling we all get when somebody just completely gets our play. Come on, you know what I’m talking about…


November 3: Success. Asking for royalties on a short play resulted in the company paying every playwright with a play in the festival!


November 4: Two acceptances—including one for “Jack Pork” at Theatre Southwest, a theater I’ve been trying to crack forever—and one email that will have me on pins and needles for the next few days. And, for good measure, one rejection. All while I was at MATILDA! That’s a theater day for you!


November 5: Being asked to read for contests. I always feel like it’s such an honor to be asked, and it makes me feel like a true part of the theater and playwriting world that I am always so grateful to have found.


November 6: The activity in the Buffalo theater district tonight. We came out of DANIEL’S HUSBAND where Michael Seitz just proposed to his partner of 15 years at curtain call, and ran into people coming out of MATILDA, APPROPRIATE, OUTSIDE MULLINGAR. The theater district was jumping, and it was so exciting to see!



November 7: This excellent piece of advice from playwright Raegan Payne: “Be aggressive I wish I had known to be a lot more aggressive like I am now. It doesn’t matter if a play is perfect or not, you just have to start submitting it to contests, residencies, etc. You should be submitting to dozens of opportunities a year. Join a playwright’s group on Linkedin. Start networking with other playwrights by joining organizations and clubs – DGALAFPI, etc.”


November 8: The Relentless Award committee felt compelled to name TWO winners of the prize and they are BOTH women! From among a pool of 2000 entrants, Clare Barron and Sarah DeLappe proved that women DO write good plays! Congratulations!

From left, Clare Barron and Sarah DeLappe.


November 9: All the playwrights who know what it’s like to wait for that email, and are always available to commiserate!


November 10: All the retweeters who every week help me get out the word about TRADE A PLAY TUESDAY, and who helped promote the Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project (RIPP) and now the #PLONY Profiles. Thank you all!


November 11: Opportunities. We all talk about how hard it is to get our work out there, but the sheer number of opportunities that are constantly calling for plays—so many and so specific that one can’t possibly even submit to them all—is encouraging.


November 12: The ability to laugh off a condescending rejection letter. Although if I have one more producing or prize entity tell me how brave I am…


November 13: The thoughtfulness and generosity of directors who take a minute to send an email letting me know how the play was received, and maybe even attach a picture. Got two of those this morning, and it’s always a pleasure.AMP

Jenn Tilley and Melissa Pang read “A Mother’s Privilege” at Black Dog Theatre


November 13: The thoughtfulness and generosity of directors who take a minute to send an email letting me know how the play was received, and maybe even attach a picture. Got two of those this morning, and it’s always a pleasure.


November 14: ELEVATOR GIRL—a play that meets at the intersection of fantasy, superhero, and rape cultures—is ready to send out!


November 15: A terrific finish to the Dramatists Guild Roving Readings series; playwright Michael Aman who drove from Albany to attend; director Jon Elston and actors Jenn Stafford and Greg Howze who gave a wonderful interpretation; and most of all, the audience members who heeded my plea and spent their afternoon with us. I’ve said it before, Buffalo theater community rocks.


Greg Howze and Jenn Stafford read Michael Aman’s THE UNBLEACHED AMERICAN


Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.

To read more entries in this series, click here or #365GratefulPlaywright in the category listing at upper right.

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